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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 22, 2007
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    Default Older Horse "Quidding" Grass ((yes, his teeth are UTD))

    Hi Folks,

    My older horse is now quidding grass. I knew he quidded hay (even soft 2nd cutting), but now he's quidding grass to.

    I thought soft spring grass would be easy for him to chew??

    So I'm wondering, should I mow the paddock super short to help him out? I don't like to mow/waste the grass, but i want him to have optimum grass consumption.

    Thanks.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 13, 2008
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    quidding is almost ALWAYS a result of a dental issue.. even if he recently had a dentist look at his teeth i would check and poke around for any missed roots or hooks.. or even an ulcer.. included in that category are compromised teeth, old teeth, missing teeth, etc. some horses can wear down their teeth as they age to the point that the only thing left of their molars is the root -- which is not very effective for chewing.

    some horses as they get older wear their teeth down and that can cause quidding too, but it is important to have an equine practitioner thoroughly examine the mouth & jaw, especially very often, as the horse ages.

    consider also that quidding is not a benevolent symptom to ignore. a horse that quids is at risk for choke. it also can indicate that they are not consuming what they are trying to chew - if they cannot chew effectively, they cannot digest effectively.
    AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


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  3. #3
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    I think I'd want to know why he's quidding. It's not normal for a horse to quid, and it could cause other kinds of health concerrns, such as weight loss and choke.

    So, I'd talk to the vet. It's possible, even though the horse may have recently had his teeth done, that he's cracked a tooth or that he has some kind of mouth abscess that is preventing him from chewing properly. Or it's possible that he's already choked without anyone noticing it, and he's now finding it difficult to swallow properly.

    Or there may be something else going on.
    "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 22, 2007
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    Default

    don't all very senior (late 20's) horses quid?

    Or that just a very common misnomer?

    The vet did his teeth 3 months ago. She checked his teeth last week, and said they are good (or similar wording).



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by grey_mare View Post
    don't all very senior (late 20's) horses quid?

    Or that just a very common misnomer?

    The vet did his teeth 3 months ago. She checked his teeth last week, and said they are good (or similar wording).
    No, I don't think they do - nor should it be considered normal. I would have a dentist out, personally.. I love my vet and used her to float my gelding when he first came off the track, but I would definitely hire a specialist (aka a dentist) for an older horse.
    AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 9, 2000
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    Oregon, sitting on my couch looking out the window at a mountain
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    Default

    I may be wrong but I don't think that a difference in grass length will solve your quidding problem. This is a problem with the teeth and needs to be treated as such. When I had an older horse who quidded, his feed was alfalfa pellets and beet pulp, soaked, 4x daily. He did get to go out on grass to keep him busy (after a slow introduction and me monitoring him so I knew he was okay - he was at home and I worked from home), but he got no nutritional value from it. He was old and neglected before we got him so there wasn't much to be done about his teeth (there were many missing).

    My pony quidded for just a couple days when she must have been shedding a cap, but otherwise went back to normal eating.

    Look in the mouth to solve your problem.
    My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2002
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    Default

    Quidding is very typical in older horses when their teeth get smooth - the grinding surfaces are gone, so they give it their best effort and the food still only gets partially chewed. Smart older horses spit out the quids! the ones you have to watch are the ones who try to swallow them, and choke.

    Call your vet and tell them your horse is quidding more than usual (if that's the case) and ask if they want to come look for a problem that might have developed since they were there last time. If they tell you, "his molars are so smooth he has no grinding surfaces, and quidding is going to be a fact of life from now on" then you may need to eliminate or closely monitor his access to grass or hay or unsoaked feed. I've had 3 very old horses over time: the first never really quidded and did well on hay until the end, at age 34. The second quidded and choked from the time he was in his early 20's, and ate soaked feed for years with little alfalfa leaves shaken onto the floor for entertainment. He died at 31. The third is now 27 and I got the "his teeth are so smooth he can't chew" declaration this spring. He does ok on grass but has started to have more trouble with his second cutting hay, even in a net (net helps him take smaller bites and slow down). He gets buckets of soaked feed and I've stopped counting on the hay to provide much in the way of nutrition. I'm waiting to see how he does this summer to know if the grass is getting in, or if he just eats it and quids it.

    So yes, quidding is going to happen once their teeth get too smooth to grind properly, but until you know that's the case, you need to rule out other reasons.


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  8. #8
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    May. 22, 2007
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    Default

    "his molars are so smooth he has no grinding surfaces,
    I believe this is the case.



  9. #9
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    Nov. 23, 2001
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    Quote Originally Posted by betsyk View Post
    Quidding is very typical in older horses when their teeth get smooth - the grinding surfaces are gone, so they give it their best effort and the food still only gets partially chewed. Smart older horses spit out the quids! the ones you have to watch are the ones who try to swallow them, and choke.

    Call your vet and tell them your horse is quidding more than usual (if that's the case) and ask if they want to come look for a problem that might have developed since they were there last time. If they tell you, "his molars are so smooth he has no grinding surfaces, and quidding is going to be a fact of life from now on" then you may need to eliminate or closely monitor his access to grass or hay or unsoaked feed. I've had 3 very old horses over time: the first never really quidded and did well on hay until the end, at age 34. The second quidded and choked from the time he was in his early 20's, and ate soaked feed for years with little alfalfa leaves shaken onto the floor for entertainment. He died at 31. The third is now 27 and I got the "his teeth are so smooth he can't chew" declaration this spring. He does ok on grass but has started to have more trouble with his second cutting hay, even in a net (net helps him take smaller bites and slow down). He gets buckets of soaked feed and I've stopped counting on the hay to provide much in the way of nutrition. I'm waiting to see how he does this summer to know if the grass is getting in, or if he just eats it and quids it.

    So yes, quidding is going to happen once their teeth get too smooth to grind properly, but until you know that's the case, you need to rule out other reasons.
    Yes. This.

    Sometimes, despite the best of dental care and frequency of dental care an older horse may quid for the reasons stated above.

    My VERY oldie (who died in his 40's) quidded starting mid-late 20's. His teeth were done every 6 months by an excellent dentist, and then every 3 months the last 2 years of his life. So had little left to chew with. He lived on big soups I'd give him multiple times a day and did very well for 12 years.

    I was lucky though. He was one of those who knew better than to try to swallow hay or grass. He'd just suck on it and spit it out. His pasture mate who was a chubette, would clean up the big wads he'd drop. It was a symbiotic relationship.

    But I have known of other older horses who try to swallow and choke and had to be muzzled. Fortunately, I didn't have to deal with that.


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  10. #10
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    Mar. 5, 2003
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    Wake Forest, NC
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    I have 2 horses in their 30s and they've started quidding grass. The vet thoroughly examines their teeth 3x year. However, they are each missing many molars and the remaining molars are worn nearly to the gum line.

    They enjoy the pasture but don't get much nutrition from it. They are fed a soaked mash of hay pellets, Equine Sr and beet pulp 3 times a day.


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  11. #11
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    Dec. 16, 2013
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    I would disagree that quidding is dangerous or even abnormal in elderly horses, IF the horse's teeth have been assessed properly and it's determined that the quidding is not from improper tooth maintenance.

    Quidding, if anything, is the elderly horse's intelligent way of trying to get as much nutrition from the forage as possible, without causing themselves the risk of choke. You'll see methodical quidders who have figured out how to "chew their cud" so to speak: they suck on the hay ball for a while to get out what they can, then spit out what they can't grind down. Pretty smart.

    I don't worry about it if I know the horse's teeth have been well-maintained and it's just the next step in aging. At that point, you need to start thinking about ways to get the necessary forage into the horse since he won't be able to take it in himself. That's when soaked hay pellets, alfalfa pellets and larger portions of senior feeds come in handy.


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  12. #12
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    Dec. 28, 2009
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    VA
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    My 30 year old gelding has been quidding hay for quite a few years. It started off with him quidding on longer, stemmier hays. It progressed to needing to be fed in a hay net with a soft second cutting hay. I noticed 2 summers ago that he was quidding the long grasses in the pasture.

    Keeping the grass cut short will make his mouthfuls smaller and allow him to "chew" the best he can.

    I also agree that they can get some nutrition from the quidded hay, although not the "forage" they need for their gut. Quidding hay is similar to soaking hay....The sugars are leached out and made available to the quidder.



  13. #13
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    May. 22, 2007
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    Default

    good info.

    So, back to my question:
    Does it make any sense that short grass would be easier for a "grass quidder" to eat?

    Like chopped forage being easier than hay?

    same sort of thing?



  14. #14
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    Jun. 20, 2005
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    The old fellow at my barn is the opposite.

    I have an old fellow who quids quite a bit. His molars are smooth and he has trouble grinding. He quids more with soft hay. He is able to grind the coarser hay much easier. He also gets soaked hay cubes 3x's a day and soaked beet pulp 3x's as well. IMO, it would be easier to eat the grass if it is longer.
    *
    Every horse has something to say, you just have to be willing to listen!



  15. #15
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    Feb. 3, 2012
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    156

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    Quote Originally Posted by grey_mare View Post
    don't all very senior (late 20's) horses quid?

    Or that just a very common misnomer?

    The vet did his teeth 3 months ago. She checked his teeth last week, and said they are good (or similar wording).
    My 28 yr old mare doesn't quid.
    How good is the person who checked his teeth? Diastema's or loose teeth can cause quidding. So can painful TM joints. Maybe see if he improves on pain killer?


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  16. #16
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    Mar. 23, 2010
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    I'd still have his teeth looked at. My gelding started quidding just a couple of months after a float and the vet found a fractured molar which had to be extracted.

    You could smell his breath which might help you determine if there is an infected tooth somewhere.



  17. #17
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    Dec. 28, 2009
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    VA
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    My old guy doesn't quid the bagged alfalfa forage that is short. I don't notice any quidding in the field when there is plenty of short grass to eat.



  18. #18
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    Nov. 23, 2001
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    Catharpin, Virginia
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    They're all different at this stage of life and tooth grinding ability. So I would recommending to just see what you've got re: forage eating ability -- pay close attention -- and adjust accordingly

    For my oldie that I mentioned before. Didn't matter whether the grass was long or short, he could not masticate, but he was a rock star for sucking on it and spitting it out to avoid choke.

    Regardless, sounds like it's time for a really good mash diet to give him all he needs that he can cope with.

    Good luck. The oldies can be a feeding challenge and not all are the same. Tender loving observation will tell you what will work for him..but the diet should be balanced with some long-stem fiber he can get, but not have to chew (wet).



  19. #19
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    Jul. 29, 2005
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    OP, I feel your pain, as I have two 30-year olds. I do think the early thin spring grasses that dry up quickly are better for mine than the normal, longer-season grasses. That said, for one of my oldies grass is just something for him to bit, chew, quid and repeat. His diet then is two large feedings of TC Sr to keep his weight good (and it's great - he's gained 170 lbs since I got him last April). My elderly cushingoid pony only needs one soaked TC Sr/Alf pellet mash a day and then gets enough grass (or hay) in to keep her weight up. Both will quid even if grass is shorter, although like I said, fine grass has worked okay for both, versus coarser grass.



  20. #20
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    Oct. 17, 2013
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    NM
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    Quote Originally Posted by grey_mare View Post
    don't all very senior (late 20's) horses quid?

    Or that just a very common misnomer?

    The vet did his teeth 3 months ago. She checked his teeth last week, and said they are good (or similar wording).
    Was the exam with a full mouth speculum? It's easy to miss things in the back of the mouth (hooks, wave mouth, loose tooth) without sedation and using a full mouth speculum.

    I'm my opinion, some older horses have so much pathology (missing teeth, smooth molars, etc) that they will quid even with proper maintenance/treatment. But I disagree that this is "normal"



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